Jamaica is an island with an area of 11,244 square kilometres (or about 4,411 square miles). The island is surrounded by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and is located in the Tropics at approximately latitude 18ºN and longitude 77ºW, which is about 4.5 degrees south of the Tropic of Cancer or about midway between the southern tip of Florida and the Panama Canal.
The Time Meridian is 75 degrees West, hence the Time Zone is Eastern Standard Time with 0000-hours being midnight or 0500-hours Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) and 1200-hours being noon or 1700-hours UTC.
Among the most important climatic influences are the Northeast Trade Winds, the range of mountains which runs east-southeast to west-southwest along the centre of the island, the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, and weather systems such as upper- and low-level low-pressure centres, troughs and cold fronts.
The cold fronts, usually weak after migrating from the North American continent, are evident from mid-October to mid-April; whilst the Tropical Weather Systems, namely Tropical Waves, Tropical Depressions, Tropical Storms and Hurricanes occur from April to December. The official hurricane season is from June to November.
The national Meteorological Service in Jamaica maintains 24-hour communication with the National and Regional Hurricane Centre in Florida, USA, especially during the hurricane season, thereby ensuring the timely dissemination of forecasts and warnings.